Texas Geothermal Power Plant Siting, Construction, & Regulation(7-TX)
Developers of certain kinds of geothermal energy facilities in Texas must obtain Energy Facility Registration from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT). Geothermal energy developers may also choose to participate in Texas’ Renewable Energy Credit Generator program. If the developer seeks to provide energy to the public, then a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity will also be required.
Developers must comply with Energy Facility Registration requirements through the PUCT if they qualify as a ‘Power Generation Company’ or a ‘Self-Generator.’ Any developer who owns an electric generating facility rated at one megawatt or more and generates electricity that is not intended to be sold at wholesale must register as a self-generator. Any developer who owns an electric generating facility rated at one megawatt or more, does not own transmission or distribution facilities, and generates electricity that is intended to be sold at wholesale must register as a power generation company. [[PUCT Substantive Rule 25.109 - Registration of Power Generation Companies and Self-Generators | PUCT Substantive Rule 25.109]]. Developers must submit an application to PUCT. Application requirements differ depending on whether the developer is a power generation company or a self-generator.
Developers of geothermal resources may choose to obtain approval from the PUCT to participate in Texas’ Renewable Energy Credit Generator program. Following approval, the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) administers the program in ERCOT and non-ERCOT areas of Texas. Developers must submit a completed application for certification to PUCT for review. PUCT will notify the developer of any insufficiencies in the application, then may approve or deny issuance of the certificate. PUCT Substantive Rule 25.173. Once the developer has been approved as an REC generator an REC Account will be established.
Developers must obtain a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity from the PUCT before providing service to the public. PURA 37.051(a). A certificate, or certificate amendment, is required for a new generating unit – a new electric generating unit constructed, owned, or operated by a bundled electric utility. A CCN is only required if the power producer is a public utility and a “retail electric utility.” A “retail electric utility” is defined as a person, political subdivision, electric cooperative, or agency that operates, maintains, or controls a facility to provide retail electric utility service. PUCT Sub. Rule 25.101 outlines specific situations in which a CCN is not required. Developers are required to submit an application for a CCN to PUCT for review. PUCT will then provide public notice, and the developer may be required to participate in a public hearing.
Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply
Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.
Permitting at a Glance
|Power Plant Siting:||Energy Facility Registration||Utilization Application Process|
|Power Plant Siting Agency:||Public Utility Commission of Texas||Bureau of Land Management|
|Power Plant Siting MW Threshold:||1 MW|
|Definition for Public Utility:||A public utility is (1) a “retail electric utility” which is defined as a person, political subdivision, electric cooperative, or agency that operates, maintains, or controls a facility to provide retail electric utility service or (2) a person or river authority that owns or operates for compensation in this state equipment or facilities to convey, transmit, or receive communications over a telephone system as a dominant carrier. The term includes a lessee, trustee, or receiver of any of those entities, or a combination of those entities. The term does not include a municipal corporation.|
|Coordinating Permit Offices:||None|
|Public Utility Regulatory Authority:||Public Utility Commission of Texas||Federal Energy Regulatory Commission|
|Public Utility Regulatory Authority Certification MW Threshold:||None|
|Public Utility Definition for Power Generator:||A public utility is a “retail electric utility” which is defined as a person, political subdivision, electric cooperative, or agency that operates, maintains, or controls a facility to provide retail electric utility service.|
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